Wintering in small to immense numbers in shallow wetlands, this crane is often attracted to the vicinity of corn and grain fields. Each evening the cranes return to a few protected areas to roost together. In flight they often form in a \V\, and at other times they will soar high on thermals in spiraling groups. In the summer, pairs claim territories in open, secluded grassy and marshy areas near water. The large nest is made of sticks, mud, moss and grass and placed on the ground near moist areas. The cranes eat a wide range of food, but in the winter primarily aquatic vegetation, seed and grain. In the summer the diet expands to include insects, small mammals, young birds and eggs. In migration these cranes learn to stop at the same historical migratory stop-over sites each year, and great concentrations can be seen at these sites for a few days each spring and fall.
The four-digit banding code is SACR.